Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mobile operators try to boost take-up of 3G - will it work?

A global trade association for mobile operators has approved a new program called "3G for all" that could help bring third-generation multimedia services and mobile Internet access to more people in developing countries.

Currently there are only 72 million uusers of 3G - which is a miniature fraction of nearly 3 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide. And nearly half the 72 million are Japanese.

So in an effort to get the cost of 3G and particularly 3G handsets down the GSM Association plans to come up with a set of common features for a standard 3G device that they can then feed out to all handset makers. The handset that wins will get broad rollout across all the operators.

Mmm, that should do it! Not. For 3G to really take off operators have to think like broadband Internet commpanies. They need to give devices away in larger numbers, or get their prices down to below $100 on desirable handsets.

Then they need to get 3G subscription costs down and most importantly they need to figure out how to crack an advertising model for mobile Internet useage. Mobile subscribers are not doing enough Internet stuff on their phones because it costs too much and they do not like one off fees. They want an all you can eat package with advertising to suppport most extra services.

Then 3G users will flourish and one day even get over 500 million worldwide.

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